Former boxing champion returns to Sheffield gym to inspire new generation

Brendan Ingle's legacy loomed large as one of the great man's proteges returned to the Sheffield gym where it all began, to coach a new generation.

Amer 'Killa' Khan was a 13-year-old with a serious discipline problem, having been suspended five times from school, when he first turned up at the Ingle Gym in Wincobank 24 years ago.

Amer Khan (back row, far right) with youngsters at the Ingle Gym in Wincobank

Amer Khan (back row, far right) with youngsters at the Ingle Gym in Wincobank

Brendan's magic touch helped him get his life back on track and set him on the path to glory, which culminated in the light heavyweight boxer being crowned national amateur champion.

READ MORE: Bold £10m plans to reinvigorate Sheffield suburb, inspired by Brendan Ingle’s teachings

Amer, who is now a firefighter, was back at the gym on Newman Road this week to put pupils from nearby Concord Junior School through their paces.

The children spent an hour there before hot-footing it to the RMC Academy of Theatre Performance in Chapman Street for a dance lesson.

Scores of pupils from Concord Junior School are taking part in the training sessions

Scores of pupils from Concord Junior School are taking part in the training sessions

They sessions were organised in conjunction with the Brendan Ingle Foundation, which was set up to continue the good work he began by supporting disaffected youths both inside and out of the boxing ring.

READ MORE: Sheffield says emotional farewell to Brendan Ingle, 'a man with a great heart'

As well as getting fit, socialising and learning about the facilities on their doorstep, participants are helping raise money for the charity by getting their parents to sponsor them.

Amer said: “When Brendan passed away, there were a lot of hard men in this gym – myself included – who were in tears.

Councillor Peter Price with young Jamie Lee Bland

Councillor Peter Price with young Jamie Lee Bland

“Time’s very precious but Brendan always had time for everyone. After everything he did for me, and for so many other young people, it’s good to be able to give something back to the community he cared about so deeply.”

READ MORE: How boxing legend Brendan Ingle's spirit lives on in the Sheffield suburb he loved

Rachel Croke, principal of the dance academy, said: “It was important to Brendan that his boxers were good on their feet, and music and dancing were a big part of that, so it’s great to be able to link up with the gym and do this in his memory.”

Leonie Powell, aged 10, said: “It’s cool because you can learn lots from boxing, including self-defence, and I’m looking forward to the dancing too.”

Pupils from Concord Junior School are also learning dance steps

Pupils from Concord Junior School are also learning dance steps

Looking on as the youngsters weaved their way between punchbags, treading the well-worn coloured lines which were so integral to Brendan’s coaching regime, was Councillor Peter Price.

He is chairman of the Wincobank Village Hall Trust, where the downstairs hall is due to be named in Brendan’s honour when it opens this month, and part of Tansley Street running beside it will also be named after him.

“Brendan was Mr Wincobank and it’s important he’s honoured and remembered in the correct way,” he said.

“He changed the lives of many young people in the area, teaching them self-discipline and respect, and I think he’d be delighted to see what's happening here today.”